Re: Do you support you local public radio?

carl-swanson on #110983

Paul- I understand your complaint completely. Even in Boston the public radio classical programing has been seriously degraded over the years. We used to have 2 public radio stations and one commercial one, and they all played classical music all day long. Now only 1 of the two public radio stations is classical. The other one is now all news and talk radio(interesting but not music) and the commercial one stopped classical programing a few years ago. There is a Harvard student station that plays a lot of classical, and in many ways they are the best. Several times a year they have their “orgy period’ where they pick one composer, or one performer and play everything they can get their hands on by that composer or performer. Years ago they did a Haydn orgy, and played, opus number by opus number, everything that Haydn wrote. It was a revelation and is still talked about today.

My main complaint about many classical stations, public and commercial, is that they play “background music”. Stuff that can be played in an office or work space without intruding on the activities in the office. So they play mostly instrumental music. Never choral, opera, etc. And they tend to play only the most famous or most popular music by composers. If they play Mozart, it’s Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, if Beethoven, the 5th symphony, Rachmaninov- Variations on a theme by Paganini. I hope I never hear any of those pieces ever again.

But back to your post. I understand your frustration, but not supporting the station is not going to get the desired result. You don’t want the station to disappear. You want it to change. Not supporting the station financially runs the risk of a)the station closing down, or b) eliminating classical music altogether because it’s not getting enough financial support. So my advice is: support the station financially but keep complaining. You have more clout when they know you give them money. You could even start collecting money from friends and colleagues so the amount you are giving them is much larger. The more money you can give them, the more they are going to listen. Also, make your complaints known to the arts section of your local newspaper. Get them to write an article about the issue.

Years ago National Public Radio came up with an absolutely hairbrained classical music news program that they then sold to the local stations. The program played parts of symphonies and then faded them out to start a news story about some classical event. In other words, the music was blatantly used as background music. But there were other things too.

After listening to the first two or three programs, I wrote a letter to the Boston Globe about it. My letter got printed with a frame around it and drawings of musical instruments! A week or two later that awful program was off the radio.

So continue to give money and even, if you can, raise money for them. But make a big stink as well.